Maps tell a story and help us understand our world. Behind every map is the spatial data that makes this understanding possible. For the humanitarian community the development of much of this data is reliant on the efforts of volunteers.
The Office of Information Technology Outreach Services (ITOS) at the University of Georgia maintains and collects a global archive of spatial data that supports the humanitarian community in their mapping and analysis efforts. When Dr. Karen Payne, the administrator of the repository, becomes aware that a dataset requested by users is not readily available she often turns to the GIS Corp, a group of volunteers with GIS and IT experience.
As one of these volunteers I recently contributed over 50 hours of work assisting in the development of a GIS dataset of the capital cities of Indonesia’s Provinces and Regencies, as well as Kotas (independent cities). A variety of sources was used to find these locations in order to provide the highest level of location and name validation possible. As I journeyed through unfamiliar names and places, I learned much about the geography and people of another region of our world. I took side trips, tasted the culture, and learned some interesting history, albeit virtually.
Being able to make a contribution to our GIS and humanitarian communities was a personally fulfilling endeavor for me. It expanded my horizons and reminded me of how we are all connected.
For more details on this project, follow this link to the full article.
– By Paula Dillon (Product Support Manager, MarshallGIS)